Oceana questions EU's “wrong” decision

28 Jan 2014
Dredging not only catches the targeted blue mussels, it also leaves the seafloor deserted and difficult to recolonise

Dredging not only catches the targeted blue mussels, it also leaves the seafloor deserted and difficult to recolonise

Oceana says it is disappointed with the European Commission’s latest decision to allow mussel dredging to continue inside Denmark’s Natura 2000 marine protected areas.

As well as allowing the “destructive” practice to continue, the Commission has agreed that the mussels should receive eco-labels attesting to be “sustainable”.

“We have previously expressed our strong concern about mussel dredging inside Danish marine protected areas, and EU’s new decision is deeply disappointing,” said Hanna Paulomäki, project manager, Oceana’s Baltic Sea office. “It is categorically wrong to call these mussels sustainable seafood when they are not only caught inside a protected area, but even worse, using destructive gear.”

Oceana says besides catching the targeted blue mussels, dredging also removed sessile fauna that is attached to the mussels and leaves the seafloor deserted and difficult to recolonise.

“Denmark has seen a marked decrease in biodiversity over the past few decades. It is critical, now more than ever, that it protects and rebuilds its benthic fauna and marine biodiversity”, added Christina Abel, marine biologist, Oceana.

Recognising this, Denmark recently changed its mussel policy by reducing the area in which dredging is allowed and set up a list of requirements that all fisheries must comply with. However, Oceana is calling for all "destructive" fishing methods to be completely banned inside Natura 2000 sites.

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